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Adolescents’ use of an Internet website for sexual health information

Julie A. Becker, PhD, MPH, Public Health Consultants, 2534 Swain Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130, 215-763-0754, ja.becker@verizon.net, Clara S. Haignere, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Studies, Temple University, 301E Vivacqua Hall, Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore, Philadelphia, PA 19122, and Danene Sorace, MPP, Network for Family Life, Rutgers University, 41 Gordon Road, Suite A, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8067.

As part of their social environment, there is a growing trend of teens turning to the Internet for health information. One such web site put forth by Network for Family Life Education of Rutgers University is “SEX, ETC.” (www.sexetc.org). The information on the site is written by and for teens. A section entitled, “ASK THE EXPERT,” responds to questions posed by teens, using adult experts in sexuality education as the respondents. A pilot study was initiated to examine the content of almost 17,000 questions posed by teens in 2002. The purpose of the content analysis was twofold to: 1) develop a methodology for performing a larger analysis, 2) analyze all submitted questions in order to assess the number of repeat submissions to the website. It is postulated that repeated submission of questions to the website may influence behavior. This preliminary study addressed which topics seemed to have the most questions as well as determine a crude percentage of questions that contained misspellings and slang. Results: About two thirds of the questions posed are from females, with the average age range between 15-17. The majority of the questions were directed towards issues related to getting pregnant, oral sex, and having intercourse. The number of logins that have submitted two or more questions is about 17%. Slang is used in about 40% of the questions and misspellings account for 27%.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Sexual Behavior, Internet

Related Web page: www.sexetc.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Network for Family Life Education of Rutgers University
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Where do Youth Get Reproductive Health Information? Communication to Improve Behavior

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA